Haydale (AIM: HAYD), the global advanced materials group, is pleased to announce it will be collaborating with Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and the Energy Innovation Centre, on a study to investigate the feasibility of developing a modern, innovative, fully compliant graphene-based pre-heat solution for use on gas operational sites.
The graphene solution has the potential to be more efficient and reliable than existing systems and has in-built flexibility to either retrofit onto existing pipes or to be built into new heat exchangers. Phase One of the 30-week project will see Haydale working directly with NGN, the gas distributer for the North East, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire.
Modern gas pre-heating systems, whilst more efficient than traditional Water Bath Heaters (WBHs), have larger electrical power requirements and require backup generators to remain operational in the event of a power cut. Maintaining gas supplies is of vital importance to the Gas Distribution Networks and as such, backup power is used to ensure that sites can remain operational should the electrical supply be interrupted.
WBHs are gas-powered and use low voltage solenoids in their control, so can remain operational from the very low voltage (VLV) supply which is backed up by batteries on site. WBHs however can be considered inefficient both environmentally and in terms of heat transfer.
Development of graphene-based, high conductivity inks and coatings that can be applied to surfaces have the potential to provide even heating across large areas with a very thin profile. This technology is made possible by Haydale’s patented HDPlas process which promotes efficient dispersion of nanomaterials into polymers and carriers.
With this innovative technology, flexible construction methods have the potential for several different solutions such as external fitment to existing pipes, internal fitment to existing pipes or integration into new replacement composite pipe sections which may include heat-exchanging internal surfaces.
Should this initial feasibility project prove successful, future development stages will progress to field-based trials.
Dr Matthew Thornton, Senior Manager for Haydale Composite Solutions, said: “We are excited to be working with NGN and EIC to develop our graphene-based heater technology for use on the gas distribution network. The opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility of graphene-based heaters as a viable alternative to incumbent pre-heat systems presents a fantastic opportunity for Haydale in this innovative sector.”
Keith Broadbent, COO for Haydale, said: “This solution for the gas networks shows another commercial route for the functionalised graphene inks that are being produced by Haydale. We look forward to working with both Northern Gas Networks and the Energy Innovation Centre to progress this route to market.”
Gareth Payne, Project Manager for Northern Gas Networks, said: “I’m really excited to be leading this project on behalf of NGN, working with Haydale Composite Solutions and supported by the EIC. If this project proves successful, then we could be looking at a real game changer in terms of pre-heating systems that can be utilised on gas distribution sites. We hope this project will lead to collaborative working with other networks to develop the idea further, as NGN continues to explore low-carbon technologies in order to deliver a cleaner, greener future for customers.”
David Turner-Bennett, Gas Innovation Engineer for the Energy Innovation Centre, said: “We are thrilled to be facilitating this project with NGN and Haydale. This project has the potential to revolutionise pre-heating systems in the gas industry and demonstrates NGN’s commitment to securing a low-carbon future. It’s a pleasure to work with and support a ground-breaking project that involves people like Gareth and Matthew who are passionate about change. We hope to see other networks follow NGN’s lead and collaborate to develop this idea further.”